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Information about anti-racism, anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion.

What Does Racism Look Like?

Racial Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to race. They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of racial hierarchy. Racial Microinvalidations, Microinsults, Microassaults are specific types of microaggressions.

Note: The prefix “micro” is used because these are invocations of racial hierarchy at the individual level (person to person), where as the "macro" level refers to aggressions committed by structures as a whole (e.g. an organizational policy). "Micro" in no way minimalizes or otherwise evaluates the impact or seriousness of the aggressions.

Further Information

 • Microaggressions What If White People Had to Deal with Racist Microaggressions?
 • If Native Americans Said the Stuff White People Say (Video)  • 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis 
 • How to Be An Ally to Someone Experiencing Microaggressions  Common Words and Phrases That Have Seriously Racist Roots
Living with Racial Battle Fatigue: Why Fighting Microaggressions Can Feel Like Treading Water  No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

Tokenism is presence without meaningful participation. For example, a superficial invitation for participation without ongoing dialogue and support, handpicked representatives who are expected to speak for the whole (socially oppressed) group (e.g. ‘tell us how women experience this issue’). Tokenism is often used as a band-aid solution to help the group improve its image e.g. ‘we’re not racist, look there’s a person of color on the panel’ (from Sustainable Campuses).

Similarly, this attitude of "one is enough/they're all the same" contributes to the mindset that one person of color or one Native person can stand in for all people of color and Native people respectively. Not only is it problematic and illogical to assume that one individual's perspective and experiences can be generalized to millions of other people, it also promotes to the idea that a friendship, relationship, or just exposure to one or a few people of color or Native people negates racist thoughts, ideas, or behavior toward others i.e. "I'm not a racist, my boyfriend is black" or "My costume isn't racist--my best friend is First Nation and she thinks it's hilarious".

Further Information

Stereotype Threat, Tokenism, and Implicit Racism  • 4 Reasons Why the Lack of Asian Americans in Hollywood Is Completely Absurd
Tokenism, Racial Stereotypes & Why We Need More Directors of Color • Inclusivity or Tokenism
 • The Real Cost of Being the POC 'In the Room' Required to Shut Down Obviously Racist Products  • Erasure hurts. #RepresentationMatters. (video)
 • Let Her Learn from the National Women's Law Center (video)  • Let Her Learn from the National Women's Law Center (video)
 • Framed: The Politics of Stereotypes in News (video)  The myth about smart black kids and “acting white” that won’t die 
Black Twitter recalls the times they were mistaken for the help #IDontWorkHere  Demythologizing Diversity in Higher Education 

Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. This not only amounts to a dismissal of the lived experiences of people of color, but also suggests that racism does not exist so long as one ignores it.

I don't see color. I just see people. We're all just people. I don't care if you're black, white, green, or purple-polka-dotted! #AllLivesMatter

At face value, colorblindness seems like a good thing — actually living up to Dr. King's ideal of judging people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to combat racism or heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half-measure that, in the end, operates as a form of racism (from

Further reading

Colorblind Ideology is a Form of Racism  5 Signs Your Idea of ‘Intersectionality’ Is Anti-Black Racism In Disguise 
7 Reasons Why 'Colorblindness' Contributes to Racism Instead of Solving It  • The Top 10 Phrases Used by People Who Claim They Are Not Racist
 • When you say 'you don't see race,' you're ignoring racism, not helping to solve it  • 3 Facts You May Not Know About the Racist Origins of ‘Colorblindness’ 
It's Time You Realize #AllLivesMatter Is Racist  #AllLivesDidntMatter 
• If People Applied “All Lives Matter” Logic To Everyday Life  • 'Every Single Word' Reveals The Alarmingly Low Amount Of Lines Spoken By PoC In The Biggest Films
 • 25 Times White Actors Played People Of Color And No One Really Gave A S**t  • The Racial Bias Built Into Photography



 • Racist Violence in America Black Rage (#BlackLivesMatter Edition) by Lauryn Hill (video) 
 • Black Parents Explain to Their Kids How to Deal with Police (video) • Killed By Police 
 • Reina Gossett: Historical Erasure as Violence (Video) • Forgiveness in Charleston isn't Absolution for 400 Years of Racial Violence in America
• Korryn Gaines and the Erasure of Violence Against Black Women  The Disposability of Black LGBTQ Lives: Gemmel Moore 
Fighting ‘Erasure’  • Racism and Gun Violence Are Killing Us, Literally 
Stop Law Enforcement Violence  11 Times Police Successfully Disarmed White People Without Killing Anyone 
4 #BlackLivesMatter Myths Debunked (Video)  • Moonlight, Trayvon, the Oscars, and America’s Fear of Black Boys 
Systemic Racism and Misogyny are Killing Queer and Trans People of Color Every Day  The Shocking Rates Of Violence And Abuse Facing Native American Kids
Native American Women at High Risk for Violence   • Understanding Prejudice: Test Your Native IQ 
• The Truth about Police Violence Against Minorities, What #BlackLivesMatter isn’t Talking About   • 5 Ways Black People Experience Non-Physical Violence on College Campuses
 • Why The Media Pays Less Attention To Police Killings Of Latinos  • Police Violence Against Native People
 • The Hard Lives — and High Suicide Rate — of Native American Children on Reservations  • Asian Americans and Police Brutality